Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall

Contact: Mrs. Louise McLornan, Democratic Services Officer 

No. Item




Apologies for inability to attend were reported from Councillors Anglin and Smyth.




          The minutes of the meeting of 20th September were taken as read and signed as correct. It was reported that those minutes had been adopted by the Council, at its meeting on 4th October, 2023, subject to the omission of those matters in respect of which the Council had delegated its powers to the Committee.



Declarations of Interest


No declarations of interest were reported.



Delegated Matters


            The Committee noted a list of applications which had been approved under the Council’s Scheme of Delegation during September 2023.



Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licenses Issued Under Delegated Authority pdf icon PDF 233 KB


            The Committee noted a list of applications which had been approved under the Council’s Scheme of Delegation during September 2023.



Licences Issued Under Delegated Authority pdf icon PDF 354 KB


The Committee noted a list of applications for licences which had, since its last meeting, been approved under the Council’s Scheme of Delegation.



Final decision on competing Stationary Street Trading Licence applications for Donegall Square East pdf icon PDF 155 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 16th August, 2023, it had agreed that it was minded to grant Mr McCafferty a Stationary Street Trading Licence to sell hot food and non-alcoholic beverages from a trailer from Monday to Sunday, 10.00p.m. to 3.00 a.m.


The result of that decision meant that the single Designated Street Trading Site was taken and, as such, there was no suitable location for the other applicant.  As a consequence, the Committee agreed that it was minded to refuse the application which had been submitted by Mr. Hamill.  That decision was on the grounds set out in Sections 9(1) (a) (i) and (iv) of the Street Trading Act (Northern Ireland) 2001, namely, that the location at which the applicant wished to trade as a stationary trader was unsuitable by virtue of the fact that there was only one designated site available and there were sufficient traders trading in the street, or at premises adjoining it, in the articles, things or services in which the applicant wished to trade.


The Building Control Manager outlined that, as required under the Act, when the Council was minded to refuse a licence application, the applicant must be informed that they were permitted to make representation regarding the refusal of the Council, with such representations to be made not less than 21 days from the date of notice.


He confirmed that Mr. Hamill had subsequently emailed the Service stating that he would not appeal against the decision and did not wish to avail of the opportunity to make representation to the Committee.


The Committee agreed to uphold its decision of the 16th August, 2023, granting the licence to Mr. McCafferty and refusing the application from Mr. Hamill on the aforementioned grounds.



Non-Delegated Matters


Proposed response to the DfC questionnaire on Pavement Café Licensing pdf icon PDF 248 KB

Additional documents:


The Building Control Manager explained that the Licensing of Pavement Cafés Act (NI) 2014 (“the Act”) came into operation on 1st October, 2016.  It made provision for the regulation by district councils of the placing in public areas of furniture for use for the consumption of food or drink.



The Department for Communities (DfC), when introducing the Act, stated that its aim was to create ‘light touch’ legislation aimed at encouraging the creation of a café culture. It had been introduced to facilitate the controlled expansion of suitable premises, such as cafes, restaurants and pubs, in support of a vibrant daytime and evening economy and for the general well-being of communities.


The Building Control Manager outlined that the Council, along with a number of other councils, had not implemented the legislation at that time as the Department for Infrastructure Roads had not, and still had not, issued their technical guidance for Councils in support of the Act.


However, the Council, in June 2020, had introduced a temporary process for considering pavement café applications to assist the hospitality sector during the recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.


The Committee was provided with a draft response to the DfC questionnaire, which was aimed at evaluating the broad level of stakeholder awareness of the statutory licensing scheme for the regulation of Pavement Cafés by councils, and how successful the legislation which established the scheme had been in delivering its original policy objectives.


The Members were advised that the closing date for the questionnaire was 29th September. However, officers had been in contact with the DfC and it had agreed that it would accept the Council’s response after it had been considered by the Committee.


            The Committee agreed the submission of the response to the questionnaire as detailed in Appendix 1 on


(At the request of a Member, the Committee adjourned for 20 minutes at this

point in proceedings, to allow some Members to attend a protest in the City Centre.)



Request by a Cinema Licensee in relation to the Film Classification for ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ film pdf icon PDF 420 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To consider a request from a cinema operator to create a new classification rating of ‘15A’ for broadcast of the ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ film in cinemas within the Belfast City Council area.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is requested, having considered representations, to decide whether to:


a)     Depart from Standard Licence Condition 2 (b) which states that ‘No persons under the age of fifteen years shall be admitted to any Exhibition when a ‘15’ film is in the programme’ and to permit cinema operators to impose a rating of ‘15A’ for the Belfast City Council area in respect of the ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ film which would mean that patrons under the age of 15 would be permitted entrance to view the film when accompanied by an adult.




b)     Refuse the request to depart from the Standard Licence Condition and require the cinema operator to comply with the rating determined by the BBFC.




c)     Defer consideration of the matter to allow Members to view the film and make a decision thereafter.


2.2       Whilst there is a general provision for appeals in relation to the conditions placed on Cinema Licences, there is no right of appeal in respect of this decision.


2.3       Members are advised that the Licensing Committee does not have delegated powers in relation to policy and legislation concerning licensing matters and as such your recommendation will be subject to ratification by Council.


3.0       Main report


            Key Issues


            Council powers and the role of the BBFC


3.1       Councils’ licence cinemas and other venues under the Cinemas (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 for the exhibition of films.  In general, the legislation relates to technical matters such as structural stability and fire safety and, as such, the powers to issue licences are delegated to the Director of Planning and Building Control.


3.2       Unlike other Licencing schemes, there is no public notification and representation process for Cinema Licence applications hence there is normally no involvement of the Committee with Cinema Licensing.


3.3       Belfast City Council has established conditions of licence regarding the general running and administration of the premises. One such condition is that only films which have been classified with a certificate issued by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) may be shown. These Conditions are attached at Appendix 1.


3.4       The BBFC is an independent body which classifies all films on behalf of local authorities, and they have strict guidelines and criteria in awarding films a classification. The BBFC Classification Guidelines are attached at Appendix 2. 


3.5       The BBFC system is used by all authorities within the United Kingdom and all commercial films will be classified through this process. The Council has adopted the BBFC classifications within the licence conditions on all cinema licences granted in Belfast.


3.6       Article 3 (3) (a) of the Cinemas (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 states that it shall be the duty of a district council, in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.